Mysterious disease kills 200 children in Uganda
At least 200 children have so far died and thousands sickened due to a mysterious Nodding disease that has struck Uganda's poor northern region.
Nodding disease or the Nodding syndrome is a new, little-known disease which emerged in Sudan in the 1980s. The deadly illness affects mostly children aged between the ages 5 and 15 and causes seizures, permanent mental and physical retardation and death in most cases.
According to health officials, over 200 children have died and more than 3,000 children are still struggling with the illness which struck northern Uganda 3 years ago.
Northern Uganda is the poorest region, experiencing decades of war between the country's security forces and the rebel Lord's resistance army led by Joseph Kony.
The Ugandan Ministry of Health has developed a comprehensive emergency response plan to tackle the deadly disease, which has been found hard to contain.
“We have been unable to contain the disease and we are alarmed at the high number of deaths. We have called in the World Health Organization to intervene”, Erastus Musiga, a senior health official in the government of Uganda told.
The health ministry is training health workers and deploying more staff in the affected areas to detect, manage and report Nodding disease cases.
The emergency program also includes providing medicine and other supplies to the affected communities and setting up more screening and treatment centres.